Angels Landing, a plateau at the peak of a red rock face, perched in the heart of Zion National Park.
2.5 miles of strenuous hiking up multiple series of switchbacks, including Walter’s Wiggles, takes you to the landing point where some will stay while others scramble to the final landing. Two long series of chains bolted into the rock with steel poles provide a safety net from the 1000 foot drop offs.
I wasn’t sure what the trail would really be like. I knew the distances. I knew the height gain. I know what it feels like to hike up long, steep descents. I have done some scrambling. But I wasn’t sure what these chained sections would be like.
My first attempt at reaching the summit of Angel’s Landing, I had taken the first shuttle of the day from the town beside Zion park. I darted across the park entrance to catch the next shuttle up the canyon. I disembarked at the Grotto stop, along with dozens of other eager hikers. The herd quickly thinned as the climbing grew strenuous. At the top, many other hikers already milled about. The first series of chains wasn’t nearly as challenging as I thought it would be. I stood on the flat section before the second series, looking up at a daunting rocky climb. I wanted to do it. But, all I could think about was the growing number of people, of various hiking abilities, streaming both up and down sections only wide enough for one. The communication was minimal. The chaos was growing. I didn’t feel this was something I should do. Or that I wanted to do under these conditions.
My life has been changed by the many mountains that I have climbed on my bicycle, chasing my husband up to the peak. Or, sometimes, simply surviving, one painful pedal stroke at a time. A little over two years ago, my husband had a grand vision to hike the Tour du Mont Blanc. As things in life sometimes go, this dream did not come true. The recap of this adventure can be seen here. However, as you can always do, if you choose to, we turned the disappointment into an entirely unexpected adventure.
This year, life has brought us some very unexpected, and challenging, things. It hasn’t been easy, at times. But, as my husband always does, he lead us in a path of finding peace and happiness in even the most challenging and heart breaking times. As the year progressed, things were settling back into a new normal. I will admit, I was craving something really challenging. I think we both needed an adventure. So, when he presented the idea of returning to France for a second go at Tour du Mont Blanc, my heart soared with excitement.
The Tour du Mont Blanc is a 170 km circular hiking route around Mont Blanc. My husband’s version ended up being 200 km with about 10,000 metres of ascent throughout. The route takes you through France, Italy and Switzerland. You can book spots in refuges to enable you to hike with only one day of food and water and no tent. The refuges aren’t glamorous, but, the mountains make you forget every cramped little dormitory you wedged yourself into or three minute cold shower you had.
Have you ever held onto a secret you’ve been dying to share, and then finally…you can?
For the last few weeks I’ve been helping Angela and Becca at Writers Helping Writers keep a BIG secret…what the next book in their thesaurus series will be.
It might seem strange to not tell one’s readers what book you’re planning to release…unless you happen to write books on Show, Don’t Tell like Angela and Becca do! They couldn’t resist the opportunity to show, not tell, by waiting for the cover reveal. They even created a *REDACTED* cover for it, which you might have seen floating around.
We’re revealing the cover at long last!
I stood off to the side near the line starting to form as people eagerly awaited their chance to board the plan to sparkly Las Vegas. Yay, Vegas. The thought had permeated my mind only the day before, causing vibrations of excitement to sizzle their way through me. Now, that thought couldn’t be further away if it was on the moon.
The world around me was blurry. I knew the people were lining up. I knew my zone hadn’t been called yet. But all I really cared about was the invasion taking over me. I wasn’t myself. I didn’t feel right. I felt downright weird. I knew something bad was going to happen. I was beginning to think it was going to happen soon. Very soon.
In times like these, your most basic, primal bodily instincts kick in. My eyes darted around frantically, landing on the restroom sign on the other side of the room. My mouth was moving, words were coming out, I was telling my husband that I would be back in a moment. I floated over to the sign, my body taking over. I was in autopilot, simply doing what needed to be done. Whatever bug was inside of me had begun it’s invasion.
I wrote and published one, single, lonely book. I chose the self-publishing route for this very personal, non-fiction story in which I open up about my struggles with anxiety and weight by facing a very big mountain, equipped with nothing but a bicycle. During this time, I found myself starting to encounter a whole new world – the world of writing. Many a time I heard the word NaNoWrimo, but never really understood what it was.
About a year ago I made the decision to embark on the long, daunting, unknown journey of writing my first fiction novel. There were many stops and restarts due to, well, life. However, I found myself wanting, even needing to continue with this journey I had started, and to see if I could indeed write a novel.
As November approached, I again heard murmurs of this mysterious NaNoWrimo thing. Then, a dear friend of mine, and very accomplished editor and author, told me I should just do it with the goal to reach a word count that would complete my first draft. The premise of NaNoWrimo (National Novel Writing Month) is to write the first draft of a novel in a month. But, you can frame the challenge in your own way.
A couple of years ago, my husband and I travelled to Chamonix, France. The dream was to hike the Tour du Mont Blanc. A 180 km hiking route covering about 10,000 metres of climbing. When we showed up, our excitement was crushed. The snow levels had been high, and the melting process was taking longer than usual. Sections of the trail were closed. Not even guided tour groups were passing through. The Tour de Mont Blanc wasn’t going to happen for us.
Dreams don’t always come true when we expect them to. It doesn’t mean that we should give up on them.